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Social media is a lot like a car: it's easy to buy, but harder to maintain. Just as many of us buy a new car, only to neglect the day-to-day maintenance that will keep it running smoothly for years to come, many individuals and businesses buy into social media but fail to do what's necessary to make the most of the investment.

Case in point: Britney Spears. The pop singer has more than 4m fans on her Facebook Page, making her one of the 50 most popular musicians on Facebook. But as detailed by Wired, the people running her Facebook Page are apparently "asleep at the switch."

That's because a quick look at the more than 10,000 photos in the Photos from Others section of Spears' Facebook Page reveals that Spears' page has become a popular target for individuals looking to advertise a certain kind of NSFW 'service'.

As Wired notes, the "regularly-updated, Britney Spears-controlled official Facebook page, which presumably attracts lots of her young fan base, is only a couple of clicks away from hardcore advertisement." In other words, despite the fact that somebody is taking the time to update Spears' Facebook Page, basic things, like moderating associated user-generated content, aren't being left undone.

Why? Two words: cruise control. Even though a Facebook Page with 4m fans is a valuable asset, it's easy to take for granted the fact that it's an asset. And so instead of managing it like an investment, it gets treated like a car on cruise control.

Wired estimates that it would take the people managing Britney's Facebook Page approximately five minutes per day to deal with the new NSFW photos that are being added to Spears' Page. While it may be difficult to quantify what Spears is 'losing' by not removing the photos, five minutes is obviously not a lot of time and it doesn't take much more than common sense to see the wisdom in making sure this gets done.

As social media becomes more important to individuals and companies, and as more of those individuals and companies find ways to generate real ROI from their social media assets, making sure that the people involved in maintaining a social media presence are on top of things will be crucial.

Patricio Robles

Published 20 August, 2010 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Geno Prussakov

Very good point, Patricio.

The "cruise control" approach to any marketing endeavor (paid search, link building, competitive intel, affiliate, etc) is bad, and Social Media ones are no exception.

over 6 years ago

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rory

Case in point: Britney Spears. You didn't need to say anything more! I think its appalling how a massive name like Britney has a shocking social media team behind her. It wouldn't take a lot (5 minutes apparently) to vet the comments and with all the money & branding behind a name like Britney there is just no accuse. I agree with Geno to ANY campaign on cruise control is never going to reach its potential.

over 6 years ago

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farouk

that's so true

over 6 years ago

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MaKenzie Birchell*

What a great post that many organizations could stand to read. Any measure taken in publicizing a name or reputation needs to be done so with the utmost care and precaution. Considering the right person for this responsibility is a a crucial step. Thanks again for the insightful post!

over 6 years ago

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Jennie

You make a very good point about not sticking to cruise control. I agree that having large numbers of fans is easily taken advantage of as an asset. This article "Social Media: You're Doing it Wrong!" goes into more detail about using social media for all that it can be.

http://www.greenbuzzagency.com/social-media-you’re-doing-it-wrong

over 6 years ago

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C. Blaise Mitsutama

IMHO, people tend to get blinded by the numbers. If they don't have a lot of followers/fans, they tend to ignore them by not posting or responding. After all, there aren't that many. They forget that the mighty oak tree grew from a little acorn. The oak tree needed water, sunlight and nutrients to grow. Even if you only have one follower, you should pay attention.

If they have a LOT of followers, they seem to get lost in the sheer numbers and ignore the routine maintenance tasks. I don't know if they're so naive that they believe no one will post inappropriate material or if they somehow think that someone else will take action (flag or report inappropriate content). 

They may also simply not have any guidance about what to do with inappropriate material or negative posts. It seems hard to believe, but neither money nor intelligence is the same as common sense.

over 6 years ago

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Mens designer t shirts

On slightly different note, that probably sums her up. There's a lot of people that would relish that position but it isn't being taken seriously.

over 6 years ago

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Leslie Hartsman | HOOPLAH

The only thing automated with the Internet are the ISP's that take your money for monthly billing. You should be social at least 3 times a day. Or tweet before you eat!

over 6 years ago

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Sarah Taieb

"making sure that the people involved in maintaining a social media presence are on top of things will be crucial"

This is obvious though... you would not give the management of your SEO, PPC, Adevrtising campaigns to anybody asleep at the switch...why would you do that with online P.R and social media.

Marketing directors, Brand managers etc need to be morw switched on as well and decide if going onto social media is relevant and good for their company/products/services/brand.

over 6 years ago

kevin mcdougall

kevin mcdougall, Development Manager at Linen House

Wired estimates that it would take the people managing Britney's Facebook Page approximately five minutes per day to deal with the new NSFW photos that are being added to Spears' Page - Anyone who 'these people' are?

over 6 years ago

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Bangalow Accommodation

This is a fantastic point you raise - and so true. I am new to Social Media and you're so right when you say that maintenance is key. I never thought of that before I started. But I am finding that extra time is needed in every day to make sure our SM is still ticking  over. I love this post - short but sweet :)

over 6 years ago

Naval Kumar

Naval Kumar, Founder & CEO - ABSEM Limited at http://www.absem.com/

PPC can be put on cruise control, however when dealing with anything that is constantly evolving cruise control is bad i.e. SEO and Social Media. I think the fact that BS's page has 4 million fans and yet is turning into a spam page also points out an important fact i.e. people higher up in the food chain of any big brand name (lets assume for a min she is brand, which she is) need to get involved with Social Media Management especially when the very name of the brand stands to get tarnished. 

Sadly a lot of these tools coming out to help manage your social media profiles are promoting themselves as "cruise control" tools (I won't name names :)) and I think that is an extremely wrong approach. 

Thank you for sharing, great post.

about 6 years ago

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